Onnit’s super-popular Alpha BRAIN supplement is one of the most famous nootropics on the market. But as with any supplement, it’s not always perfect for everyone. While our testers generally like the supplement and appreciate Onnit’s integrity as a brand, there are a few general knocks against Alpha BRAIN we hear most commonly.
- I want something with caffeine (Alpha BRAIN is caffeine free, and while this is also something a lot of people cite as a benefit, preferences of course differ)
- I want a simpler formula
- I want a more transparent formula (Alpha BRAIN doesn’t publicly release the exact makeup of their proprietary blends, but they have generally been revealed in one research source)
- Alpha BRAIN is too expensive
- I just want to try something different
To make it easier to find some of the best Alpha BRAIN alternatives, we’ve highlighted these reasons and some of our favorite solutions below.
Have another Alpha BRAIN alternative you love? Let us know in the comments!
You Want Something Simpler
Alpha BRAIN is a broad-spectrum nootropic, meaning it contains a high number of ingredients that, while potentially synergistic, have numerous different effects on the brain and body. It has 12 active ingredients, many of which might not carry a potent effect for everyone.
Learn what our testers think about Alpha BRAIN in our review.
One of our current favorite Alpha BRAIN alternatives with a very straightforward formulation is RISE by Nootrobox. It has just three active ingredients: rhodiola rosea, bacopa monnieri, and Alpha-GPC. And unlike Onnit, Nootrobox is very upfront with how much of which ingredients are in its supplements.
Learn more about RISE in our full review.
Like Alpha BRAIN, RISE is caffeine-free and is designed for daily use. Both supplements contain notable adaptogens, though only RISE contains rhodiola, which our testers have anecdotally found to give a mental as well as physical boost. Both supplements contain Alpha-GPC, the highest-quality form of choline you’ll find in nootropics (and the form most able to cross the blood-brain barrier). Learn more about Alpha-GPC here.
It’s worth noting that Bacopa and Alpha-GPC are both found in Alpha BRAIN, though in significantly smaller quantities than RISE; Alpha BRAIN contains 240 mg of their Focus Blend, which includes both ingredients, while RISE contains 300 mg of each.
You Want Something More Powerful With Caffeine
Alpha BRAIN’s caffeine-free formula is famous and pairs well with coffee. However, some people want a powerful, fast-acting nootropic formula that gives them a more perceptible energy boost. In that case, our testers prefer Lumonol.
Lumonol is another broad-spectrum nootropic stack that includes a choline source, but it’s paired with guarana (a potent caffeine source) and noopept, a fast-metabolizing compound that can provide a cognitive boost shortly after ingestion (similar to, but potentially more potent than, piracetam).
Lumonol is one of our highest-rated nootropics and one of the fastest-acting, highest-energy blends we’ve tried. Find out more about Lumonol and who it may be best for in our review.
truBrain is another fast-acting nootropic our testers generally had good experiences with, and it’s one with a transparent list of ingredients plus the backing of an impressive team of neuroscientists. We found their liquid shots, which come in caffeinated and non-caffeinated forms, tasty and convenient.
You Want Something Cheaper
Onnit isn’t known for bargain-basement prices, though they occasionally release coupons and discounts. (Find out how to get the cheapest Alpha BRAIN at our coupons portal.)
If you’re looking for a broad-spectrum nootropic at a cheaper price, especially one that’s accessible to beginners, our testers recommend looking at Cognitex. It has a pretty different ingredient profile than Alpha BRAIN, but we overall enjoyed it, and it paired very well with coffee and other sources of caffeine like Smart Caffeine. If you take into account the price per serving, Cognitex is about half the price of Alpha BRAIN (assuming a 2-capsule serving of Alpha BRAIN).
Read our full Cognitex review here.
You Want Something More Transparent
Again, Onnit isn’t always the most forthcoming with their exact formulations. Of the options listed above, RISE, Cognitex, and Choline Force are all very transparent in their formulations, in fact, transparent ingredient amounts is one of the founding principles of a company like Nootrobox. As far as a stimulant-free stack with a quality, no-gimmicks formula our testers enjoyed, RISE is currently our preferred alternative to Alpha BRAIN.
Still looking for that perfect stack? Check out our Ultimate Beginner’s Guide for rankings of the best nootropics.
Quick note: Some in the biohacking community enjoy creating their own blends and mixing raw ingredients. We primarily review consumer-ready supplements and don’t put out recommendations for at-home or self-packed supplements made from raw ingredients meant for research purposes, which can carry its own set of risks. When starting any new supplement regimen, please use common sense and don’t be afraid to consult with your healthcare provider.